I. Satisfactory Academic Progress
Federal regulations, HEA Sec 484(c), 34 CFR 668.16(e), 34 CFR 668.32(f), and 34 CFR 668.34, require schools offering Federal Student Aid to establish policies to monitor the academic progress of students who apply for and receive federal financial aid. The Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy, which is administered by the Financial Aid Office, may differ from Mountwest’s Academic Standing Policy, which is administered by Academic Affairs.
Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy (SAP)
Students must be making satisfactory academic progress (SAP) toward completion of an eligible degree in order to receive financial aid administered by Mountwest Community and Technical College. SAP for financial aid is calculated each semester to verify that students meet all Federal SAP standards. Federal regulations require academic progress be evaluated both quantitatively (Pace) and qualitatively (GPA). State programs have varying SAP standards that are typically evaluated annually. See the individual state program for specific SAP standards. Students receiving assistance from any of the following aid programs must meet standards of Satisfactory Academic Progress:
- Pell Grants
- Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants (SEOG)
- Federal Work-Study Programs (FWS)
- William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan (DL) Program including:
- Subsidized Loans
- Unsubsidized Loans
- Parents’ Loan for Undergraduate Students (PLUS)
- West Virginia Higher Education Grant
- Promise Scholarship
- WV Engineering, Science and Technology Scholarship
- WV Invests Grant
II. Evaluation Increments
Students may be allowed to receive financial aid for an academic year; however, final Satisfactory Academic Progress is evaluated at the end of each semester of enrollment. There will be an additional evaluation increment after mid-term each semester. Students who are no longer in attendance after mid-term, may not receive student loan distributions or other pending financial aid payments. Final academic progress standing will be evaluated at the end of each semester.
- Qualitative Standard- GPA Requirement
- Quantitative Standard-Pace
- Maximum Time-frame
- Suspension Status, Probation Status, Warning Status and Appeals
IV. Quantitative Standard-GPA Requirement
|Hours Attempted||Cumulative GPA|
Certificate of Applied Science
|Hours Attempted||Cumulative GPA|
Note: The attempted hours and GPA used in calculating Satisfactory Academic Progress must include credits that may not be calculated in an academic GPA, examples including but not limited to, developmental courses, academic forgiveness, including D/F repeats, transfer credits, etc. The Financial Aid Office is not permitted to use Academic Amnesty in evaluating GPA. We must count all classes in the calculation of GPA.
All students must maintain a cumulative 2.0 GPA on 4.0 scale. Some programs require that the cumulative GPA be higher than 2.0. When GPA is evaluated for a program requiring a higher standard, Mountwest must use the higher GPA requirement to determine SAP.
V. Quantitative Standard-Pace
All students must maintain at least a 67% percent completion percentage throughout their program of study. The calculation of pace is cumulative. To calculate your completion percentage, you divide the total number of credit hours you have passed by the total number of credit hours you have attempted. Attempted hours include all college classes you began, including:
- remedial classes,
- classes from which you withdrew,
- classes that you failed,
- classes that you took at another college, or
- classes for which you received an incomplete.
V. Maximum Time-frame
Federal regulations require a maximum time-frame for completion of a degree or certificate. A student will not be eligible for Title IV federal aid if the degree is not completed within 150% of the normal credit hours required to complete the degree or certificate program. Financial Aid will be suspended for students who have attempted 90 or more credit hours for a two year degree or 45 credits for a certificate. The number of attempted credits used in determining maximum timeframe will include transfer, remedial, failed, incomplete and withdrawn credits. Attempted hours also includes all credit hours even if they do not count towards the degree at Mountwest.
If a student changes their course of study, the hours attempted under all courses of study are included in the calculation of the maximum time-frame. The Financial Aid Office will review a student’s eligibility at the end of each semester and will notify students if he/she will no longer be eligible for federal aid programs (grants and loans) for any future semester.
If a student has previously completed an associate degree, or a bachelor degree, all financial aid will be suspended, but the student has the right to request an appeal.
If a student has met all requirements to receive a degree in his or her stated major, the student must apply for graduation. Change of major is not an option. Refusal to graduate in the intended major will result in financial aid suspension with no possibility to appeal.
Students who have exceeded maximum hours are limited to 3 major changes. Students are permitted to change majors at any time; however, this may result in financial aid suspension.
VII. Withdrawal, Academic Forgiveness, Incomplete, Repeated, and Non-Credit Remedial Hours
- Withdrawal, academic forgiveness, incomplete, repeated and non-credit remedial hours are counted for the calculation of hours attempted and GPA. The Financial Aid Office is not permitted to use Academic Amnesty in evaluating GPA. We must count all classes in the calculation of GPA.
- A student is eligible to receive Financial Aid for one repeat when repeating a previously passed course to obtain a higher grade.
- In cases of repeated courses, a student may continue to repeat a failed course and receive Financial Aid until it is passed. A student, who has exceeded the maximum hours for his or her major, may not receive Financial Aid to repeat courses on the academic evaluation that are failed or withdrawn.
1. Allowable: Repeated coursework may be included when determining enrollment status in a term-based program if a student needs to meet an academic standard for a particular previously passed course, such as a minimum grade.
2. Not permissible: A student enrolls in four classes in the fall semester and passes only three of them; the institution requires the student to retake the failed class and also the other three classes because of failing the one class. When the student repeats all four classes in the spring semester, the failed class would be included in the student’s enrollment status, but the three classes passed would not be.
Students may only attempt 30 semester hours of developmental (remedial) courses. Once a student has reached the 30 semester hour limit, Financial Aid may not be used to pay for further developmental (remedial), new, or repeated coursework.
VIII. Transfer and Readmission
Students who transfer into Mountwest Community and Technical College in the fall or spring term with one or more semesters of classes and who do not meet the satisfactory academic progress requirements will be automatically placed on financial aid suspension and must appeal the suspension. Students seeking readmission to Mountwest Community and Technical College in the fall or spring term and who do not meet the satisfactory academic progress requirements will be automatically placed on financial aid suspension and must appeal the suspension.
Students who have not been continuously enrolled at Mountwest Community and Technical College will be placed on financial aid warning status during their first semester enrolling or re-enrolling at Mountwest Community and Technical College. Students may request an Administrative Review of the warning status by completing the Administrative Review for Warning Status form and supplying any requested official transcripts from previously attended institutions. Students who have a successful Administrative Review will be able to receive student loan disbursements prior to the mid-term disbursement.
IX. Definitions of SAP Ineligible Status
1) Suspension Status
Students are placed on financial aid suspension status after one semester. Students on suspension cannot receive Financial Aid. Students will be removed from Financial Aid suspension and/or probation when in compliance with the GPA and Pace rules. Students cannot exceed the maximum hours allowed.
2) Probation Status
Probation status is granted to students who have successfully appealed. Students can receive aid during their probationary period after signing and submitting a Satisfactory Academic Progress Contract to the Office of Financial Aid. Some students on probation may need to adhere to an academic plan developed in conjunction with their academic advisor.
3) Warning Status
Warning status may be granted to students with extenuating circumstances i.e.: A student who was forced to withdraw due to an accident or illness. Appropriate documentation must be provided.
4) Maximum Time-frame Evaluation Status
Maximum Time-frame Evaluation status is a probation status granted to students who have successfully appealed a maximum hours suspension. Students can receive aid during this period after signing and submitting a Satisfactory Academic Progress Contract to the Office of Financial Aid.
X. Regaining Eligibility for Title IV Aid
Students who have lost eligibility for federal aid may regain eligibility in one of two ways.
Paying for classes on your own: You may pay for classes on your own and regain eligibility by increasing your pace of completion and/or your GPA. Once you meet the SAP policy minimum standards you will regain eligibility.
Appeals: An approved appeal allows a students to receive federal financial aid while working to meet the pace and GPA standards.
Students who have lost eligibility for some state programs may not be able to regain eligibility. See the individual state program for information.
XI. Appeal Process
The student may submit documented reasons to the Office of Financial Aid for failure to maintain satisfactory academic progress. Valid reasons are listed in section E. Any appeals granted must be well documented as they would otherwise be violations of federal standards.
A. First Request to Appeal Satisfactory Academic Progress Financial Aid Suspension
Appeals may be decided by the Associate Dean of Student Services, Director of Financial Aid or his/her designated representative in Financial Aid. The following documentation must be submitted to the Financial Aid Office:
- Appeal Form
- Letter of Extenuating Circumstances and Plan for Improvement
- Supporting Documentation
B. Request to Appeal Maximum Hour Financial Aid Suspension
Waivers or appeals may be decided by the Dean of Student Services, Director of Financial Aid or his/her designated representative in Financial Aid. The following documentation must be submitted to the Financial Aid Office:
- Appeal Form
- Letter of Extenuating Circumstances and Plan for Improvement
- Supporting Documentation
- Degree Audit Form completed by the student’s Program Director or Student Success Counselor.
C. Deadlines for Appeals
Students planning to appeal should appeal as soon as they are notified of their financial aid suspension. Tuition and fees are due at the start of each term. In order to avoid difficulties involved in late payment of tuition and fees, submit the appeal promptly and observe the deadline dates.
For an appeal to have meaning, the appeal must be granted in time to allow the student’s award to be processed before grades are released for that semester. In addition, student loans cannot be processed after the enrollment period ends.
Federal regulations require that once the standing of a student is known, then the award must reflect that information. Thus, a student granted an appeal before the end of the semester and awarded after the end of the semester may become ineligible for the award by the time the award is granted. Financial aid appeals cannot be retroactive.
D. Appeal Procedures
The student must submit a Financial Aid Suspension Appeal Form to the Office of Financial Aid, using the official college Appeal Form, and include documentation to support the reason for granting an appeal.
Appeals cannot be processed if the student is placed on Academic Suspension.
E. The Satisfactory Academic Progress standing can be appealed when one of the following conditions exists:
- Illness or injury of the student
- Illness, injury, or death of a family member
- Natural Disasters i.e.: floods, fires, tornadoes, hurricanes, or earthquakes
- Criminal acts inflicted on the student or student’s family. For example: terrorism, kidnapping, or theft.
- Emotional problems supported by documentation from a counseling agency, counselor or psychiatrist.
- Documented errors of an official designated representative of the Vice President of Academic Affairs resulting in unacceptable academic progress.
- Legal entanglements i.e.: divorce, child custody, extended jury duty or bankruptcy
F. Appeal Supporting Documentation
Required documentation to be submitted with an appeal may include but, is not limited to:
- A signed statement from the student explaining her reasons for not meeting SAP.
- Statement from third party familiar with the student’s circumstances and/or
- Documentation from the student’s physician in cases of illness or injury and/or
- Documentation from the student’s academic advisor or course professors and/or
- Insurance claim and/or.
- Police reports and/or.
- Death certificate.
G. Approved Appeals:
Students will be placed on Financial Aid Probation with an academic plan if the appeal is approved. Students may remain eligible to receive aid while on probation with an academic plan as long as they meet the conditions of the plan which are detailed in the SAP Contract. Students may appeal again if not meeting the academic plan but must demonstrate that the circumstances that caused the initial problem have changed significantly.
Students will be notified of financial aid suspension and appeal status via letter to the home address Mountwest has on file in the student record. Additional communication may also be made via campus email.
XII. Glossary of Terms
Academic Plan– A plan developed by the institution and the student to ensure that the student is able to meet the institution’s satisfactory academic progress (SAP) standards by a specific point in time.
Academic Year – An academic year consists of the fall and spring semesters and may include a following summer session.
Direct Loan – federal loan funds borrowed from the U.S. Department of Education which must be repaid with interest once the student graduates or falls below half-time status.
Federal Work-study – A federal need-based work program available to many students if they are in compliance with this policy.
GPA – The cumulative Grade Point Average is reported in the Banner Student System. The GPA used in calculating Satisfactory Academic Progress must include all credits, even those that may not be calculated in an academic GPA, examples including but not limited to, developmental courses, academic forgiveness, transfer credits etc. Students
must have a GPA consistent with graduation requirements.
Hours Attempted – We count, in hours attempted, every credit hour one has ever taken at a college or university of higher education. The hours attempted include only those hours from colleges and universities from which Mountwest accepts credit.
Hours Passed – These are semester hours for courses where a grade of D or better has been earned.
Maximum Time-frame – The maximum hours allowed for a degree or certificate.
Pace – A measure of a student’s progress toward completion of his or her program of study which compares hours earned to hours attempted, expressed as a fraction.
Pell – A federal need-based grant available to eligible students if they are in compliance with this policy.
Probation Status – The status granted after a successful appeal.
Qualitative component: The specified GPA, or other comparable assessment measured against a norm, that a student must have at each SAP evaluation.
Quantitative component: The pace at which a student must progress through his or her program of study to ensure that he or she will graduate within the maximum time-frame.
SAP Contract – the SAP contract lists the detailed terms and conditions based on the academic plan that must be met each semester by the student in order to remain eligible for financial aid.
Satisfactory Academic Progress – Satisfactory progress is compliance with the academic progress policy as stated in this document. The policy has three major components: GPA, pace, and maximum hours.
Semester – A semester is one academic term which may be defined as fall, spring or summer term or combined parts of term.
Warning – A status a school assigns to a student who is failing to make satisfactory academic progress. The school reinstates eligibility for aid for one payment period and may do so without a student appeal.